Biden administration officials are coming under increasing pressure to lift restrictions on exports of supplies, which vaccine manufacturers in India say they have to expand amid the devastating increase in deaths from Covid-19.
Funerary Pyrenees have lit the night skies in the worst-hit cities, and the country has set a new world record of 350,000 new infections per day, which experts say could be a tremendously outnumbered.
State Department spokesman Ned Price responded to questions about the export ban that “the United States is making ambitious, effective and hitherto successful efforts to vaccinate the American people.”
The export restrictions fall under the Defense Production Act, which former President Donald J. Trump invoked in the early days of the pandemic and which President Biden has been using since February to increase vaccine production in the United States.
Mr Price’s comments came on Thursday, the same day that Mr Biden brought world leaders together for a global climate summit that included Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The White House used the summit to foster global cooperation in the fight against climate change and stated that the United States would help vulnerable countries, including India, deal with the effects of rising temperatures.
April 23, 2021, 6:25 p.m. ET
India, the world’s most populous democracy, is an important partner for the US, especially at a time when relations with China are at a low point.
“It’s not just in our best interests, of course, to see Americans vaccinated,” Price continued. “It is in the interests of the rest of the world to see Americans vaccinated.”
That didn’t go down well in India.
“By stockpiling vaccines and blocking exports of essential raw materials for vaccine production, the US is undermining the strategic Indo-American partnership,” Milind Deora, a politician from Mumbai, one of the hardest hit cities, said on Twitter.
The contrast to the American tone of climate diplomacy was stark.
“That is pathetic. Will the US “leadership” look like this in the climate crisis? “Ulka Kelkar, director of the climate program in the Indian office of the World Resources Institute, a research and advocacy group, said in a Twitter message,” Save us the talking points. “
India has also restricted exports of its domestically manufactured vaccines to meet Indian demand.
Vaccine production has lagged behind the needs of India’s 1.2 billion people. Adar Poonawalla, managing director of the Serum Institute of India, a vaccine manufacturer, appealed to Mr. Biden in mid-April to “lift the embargo on raw material exports from the US so that vaccine production can increase”. His company was criticized this week in India for the high price of its vaccines.
Mr Biden said earlier this week that the United States had sent some unused vaccine doses to Canada and Mexico and is considering sharing more. “We’re looking at what will happen to some of the vaccines that we don’t use,” the president said on Wednesday. “We have to make sure they are safe to be broadcast.”
News of India’s vaccine shortage amid horrific scenes of overwhelmed hospitals and cremation sites spread across Twitter, appealing to Mr Biden of writer Salman Rushdie to public health expert Ashish K. Jha, who pointed out that the United States has not done this to millions used vaccine doses that it might divide.
The Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg also said: “The world community must strengthen itself and immediately offer the necessary help,” she said on Twitter on Saturday.
Mr. Price noted that the United States had allocated $ 2 billion to develop vaccines that were being distributed through the Covax program and used in India and elsewhere and would soon double that amount. “As we are more comfortable in our position here at home, we are confident that we will be able to resolve any contingencies,” he said. “I assume we will be able to do more.”